On this journey, we explore the multiple ethnic communities of Oaxaca (and Guerrero) to learn of their cultural and ethnic expressions in dress and textiles. From the Amuzgo in Guerrero to the Mixtec, Huave, Zapotec in Oaxaca we will readily see how textile traditions and dress are a cultural passport and unique expression of the women (and some men) who live in this region. We will learn of the fibers, such as coyuche cotton and natural dye sources, such as Purpura Pansa, indigo and cochineal. This is an extraordinary close up journey into the communities where we meet the people and artisans who create visual masterpieces and maintain their cultural heritage. Join us!.
Pre Arrival: We ask that you arrive a day early. We’ll meet you at the Acapulco Airport and transfer to our charming hotel, before we enjoy dinner overlooking the Acapulco Bay.
Day 1: Today we begin our journey on the coastal highway of Guerrero, making our way to Ometepec. We’ll enjoy special stops and visits along the way, on this scenic and culturally interesting drive. (L, D)
Day 2: An amazing day awaits, as we travel to the mecca of Amuzgo weavers, Xochistlahuaca, Guerrero, where we meet the extraordinary weavers of the coop, Flor de Xochistlahuaca, formerly lead by master weaver and teacher to young women, Florentina. Here, the tradition remains alive, due to the dedication of these women to their art and heritage. We see the huipils (3 panels) and batas (2 panels) that are woven on backstrap looms, taking up to six months to produce. We see the use of beautiful natural cottons, such as coyuche, with carmel hues, and others with sage green hues. Overnight in Ometepec. (B, L)
Day 3: Today, once again, we travel to meet some of the most talented and inspiring weavers, spinners and dyers of the coastal Mixtec region of Oaxaca, known as the Costa Chica. In two communities, Pinotepa de Don Luis and San Juan Colorado, we will learn of the traditional dress of the region, such as the pozahuanco wrap skirt of purple Murex, indigo and cochineal stripes. We overnight in Pinotepa Nacional. (B, L)
Day 4: Today we visit the communities of Huazolotitlan and Jamiltepec to meet with some of the best weavers and embroiderers of the region and to see how dress changes from one community to the next. Overnight in Puerto Escondido. (B, L)
Day 5: Free day in Puerto Escondido: Options include: Manialtepec Lagoon, sit by pool at Hotel Santa Fe, walk on the beach, etc. (B)
Day 6: Today we travel further up the coast to Huatulco, where we are met by the leader of the Mixtec coop of purpura pansa, Murex dyers, who have extracted the purple dye from the Purpura Pansa mollusk for generations. We learn about the tradition of dyeing with a live mussel, without harming it, and the work of anthropologist Marta Turok, to educate people on the threats to this now endangered creature of nature and the natural dye traditions of the Mixtec community. Overnight Huatulco (B, L).
Day 7: Leaving Huatulco, we continue up the Oaxaca coast towards Salina Cruz, to the Huave community of weavers, San Mateo del Mar. While the women are Huave, they have adopted the dress of the Zapotec women of the Isthmus; the colorful huipil accompanied with a flowing, equally colorful skirt. Their traditional whimsical weaving designs of animals, fish, butterflies, can be seen on the runners, place mats and other utilitarian items they weave of cotton on backstrap looms. From here, we travel into the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to visit the Zapotec community, Juchitan. We will learn of the history of traje, or dress which is so emblematic of this region, making the women of Tehuantepec a favorite subject of artists and sculptors, such as Miguel Covarrubias and Francisco Zuniga, and made popular by Frida Kahlo, who often was seen wearing beautiful traje brought to her by travelers to the region. We overnight in Tehuantepec. (B, L)
Day 8: Day Two in Isthmus of Tehuantepec! Today we spend time learning about the different embroidery techniques of this region, including “gancho” (hook), “cadenilla” machine chain stitch, hand and machine embroidery. We’ll visit the colorful markets of Juchitan and Tehuantepec. (B,L)
Day 9: Today we leave the coast and Isthmus behind and begin our journey into the Valley of Oaxaca. En route, we visit our friends in Teotitlan del Valle to learn of their ancient traditions in weaving and using natural dyes. The traditions are ancient, but some of their creations are very contemporary! Arriving in Oaxaca, we are free to explore co-ops, galleries, museums and markets of Oaxaca, or people watch at the Zocalo! Overnight Oaxaca (B, L)
Day 10: Today we explore Oaxaca City and will enjoy special visits to the Museo Textil de Oaxaca, and other city highlights. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a Festive and Farewell Dinner at one of our favorite Oaxaca Restaurants. Overnight Oaxaca (B, D)
Day 11: Sadly we depart, or you may extend your stay in Oaxaca. (B)